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Unexploded ordnance and landmines killing more children in Yemen

2012-04-20

SANAA, 20 April 2012 – UNICEF expressed grave concern today that children are increasingly becoming victims of landmines and unexploded ordnance.

In the first three months of 2012 alone, 13 children were reported killed and another 12 maimed by unexploded ordnance or mines in 12 reported incidents.

In 2011, unexploded ordnance or mines reportedly left 28 children killed and nine maimed. These included 18 children killed and four injured in a single incident at an ammunition factory blast in the Abyan governorate in March last year.

“These figures are extremely alarming,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Representative in Yemen. “The casualties for just the first three months of 2012 are fast approaching the total for 2011.”

Earlier this week, three children were also killed by a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Hadramout. According to government officials, the children were on their way to school.

“UNICEF is deeply disturbed by these developments and strongly urges the transitional government and all relevant parties in Yemen to guarantee, at all times, the safety of all children and their unhindered access to basic social services,” said Mr. Cappelaere.

“Children represent over half the population of Yemen and it is our collective responsibility to ensure the fulfillment of their rights and protection,” he added.

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UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.